I have been living and working in Southwest Florida for almost 20 years and the majority of that time has been dedicated to destination marketing, hospitality and tourism. A wise colleague of mine once told me that her “marketing magic” was really quite simple – show them blue skies and palm trees. As basic as that sounds, it’s absolutely true. No matter what your product is or what destination or attraction you are marketing, find those simple basics that people identify with and want more of. People don’t buy a product – they buy the feeling associated with that product. I’ve not been marketing hotel rooms all these years. I’ve been marketing sunshine, blue skies, palm trees and some of the most gorgeous beaches in the country.

Marketing vs. Sales

Recently I was asked if I could define the difference between marketing and sales. There are many companies and organizations that lump the two of them together in hopes that they both get along at least like well-behaved siblings. Under certain circumstances, this is a possible achievement. It all depends on the marketing and sales mix ratio. Marketing is everything you do to reach, contact, get-in-front-of and persuade prospects. The sales process is everything you do to close the deal. Both are necessities to the success of any business. You cannot do without either process.

Marketing consists of the methods and campaigns you use to reach and persuade your prospects that you are the company or product for them. It’s the message that prepares the prospect for the sale. It consists of advertising, public relations, promotions, brand marketing, social media, viral marketing, and direct mail.

The sales process usually consists of interpersonal interaction, one-on-one meetings and networking. It’s anything that engages you with the prospect or customer on a personal level rather than at a distance.

Internet Marketing

Ah, yes . . . my favorite. By having an Internet marketing stategy in place, you will have a measurable and definitive way to target your market and position your product so that those who are looking for what you have to offer can find you easily. As a marketer, you want your product to be at all the “touch points” where people begin their search. Although this is only the first level of the sales process, it is vital to the success of your online business.

Website traffic can be increased by search engine optimization, email campaigns, pay per click advertising, or marketing your website in advertising campaigns. After successfully generating the website traffic you must then turn your efforts to selling to the visitor once they get there.